Roundabout Sets Works, Directors for 2017 Underground Reading Series

By: Dec. 07, 2016

Celebrating 10 seasons of Roundabout Underground, Roundabout Theatre Company has announced the sixth annual Roundabout Underground Reading Series, a five-night event that includes nightly readings of new works written and directed by emerging artists, as well as post-show receptions.

The Reading Series will feature new works by Saheem Ali, Emily Feldman, Alex Lubischer, Don Nguyen, Ming Peiffer and Michael Thurber.

The Roundabout Underground Reading Series is January 9-13, 2017 at 7:00PM at the Black Box Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (111 West 46th Street). Tickets are free.

This year will feature the return of two Roundabout alumni: Kip Fagan will direct Alex Lubischer's Bobbie Clearly, returning after directing this season's Roundabout Underground production of Kingdom Come. Moritz von Stuelpnagel also returns to the Roundabout Underground Reading Series as a director with The Supreme Leader following Thoreau, and other Assholes as part of the Reading Series in 2014. Roundabout Underground's upcoming production of On the Exhale by Martín Zimmerman was selected from the 2016 Roundabout Underground Reading Series to be a part of the 2016-2017 season.

Roundabout Underground is an initiative to introduce and cultivate artists in Roundabout's 62-seat Black Box Theatre, at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. Prior productions include the acclaimed world premieres of Lindsey Ferrentino's Ugly Lies the Bone (2015), Stephen Karam's Speech & Debate (2007), Steven Levenson's The Language of Trees (2008), Adam Gwon's Ordinary Days (2009), Kim Rosenstock's Tigers Be Still (2010), David West Read's The Dream of the Burning Boy (2011), Andrew Hinderaker's Suicide, Incorporated (2011), Joshua Harmon's Bad Jews (2012), Meghan Kennedy's Too Much, Too Much, Too Many (2013), Jeff Augustin's Little Children Dream of God (2015), Jenny Rachel Weiner's Kingdom Come (2016) and Martín Zimmerman's On the Exhale, which will be presented by Roundabout Underground in Spring 2017.

As part of Roundabout's continued mission to support new work, Roundabout Underground will either give a debut production to an emerging writer or director or allow an experienced director to go back to his/her creative roots. Robyn Goodman (Artistic Consultant to the Roundabout) serves as Artistic Producer, with Associate Producers Jill Rafson and Josh Fiedler, for this initiative that continues to be a creative breeding ground for nurturing new talent.

The 62-seat Black Box Theatre, below the Laura Pels Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, allows Roundabout to take artistic risks that are better suited for a more intimate space.

By Ming Peiffer, Directed by Tyne Rafaeli Monday, January 9 at 7:00PM

On an elementary school playground, a boy threatens to tell on a group of girls for swearing - unless one of them kisses him. But just before lips can touch, Kyeoung tackles the boy to the ground. The victory is short-lived. Over the coming years, Kyeoung herself is knocked down again and again. By an alcoholic dad. A group of quick-to-judge friends. And an endlessly invasive parade of men. As we follow Kyeoung from the discoveries of childhood to the realities of adulthood, her stories get stranger, funnier, more harrowing - and more familiar. How do girls grow up? Quickly, painfully, wondrously.

Ming Peiffer (Playwright) is a 2016/17 New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellow, a proud member of EST's Youngblood, and the Co-Artistic Director and Resident Playwright of Spookfish Theatre Company. Recent work includes: USUAL GIRLS (WORKSHOP: Signature Theater), am i? am i? am i? (The Flea), i wrote on ur wall and now i regret it (Wild Project), Pornography For The People (HERE Arts Center), aokigahara/ don'tlookforme (Stage Reading w/ Yangtze Rep), DESTINATION: OASIS (Columbia University), #cerulean (The Sargent), The ABC's Guide To Getting Famous (FringeNYC), ADVANCE GUARD (Kraine Theater), RELAX! ALICE (June Havoc Theater), WABI SABI! Not Wasabi (Theater for the New City, described by the New York Times as "Aware."), among others. Ming was a Guest Artist at The Lincoln Center Director's Lab and a 2012-2013 Member of NPTC's Women's Work Project. She has training from both the Stella Adler School of Acting and the Shanghai Theatre Academy where she lived abroad studying Traditional Peking Opera. She studied poetry at The New School and holds a BA with Honors in both Theater Arts and Mandarin Chinese from Colgate University. Awards include: The Kennedy Center's Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award (i wrote on ur wall and now i regret it), Princess Grace Award Semi-Finalist (i wrote on ur wall and now i regret it), Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award Nomination, The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center Playwright Observership Residency. MFA Playwriting: Columbia University ('16). Ming also writes poetry.

Tyne Rafaeli (Director) is a British-American Director who trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Columbia University. She has directed classics, new plays and musicals in London and the US and her work has been seen at Classic Stage Company, New York Stage and Film, Goodspeed Opera House, Juilliard, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Great Lakes Shakespeare, American Players Theater, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, O'Neill Playwright's Conference and PlayPenn, among others. Tyne is currently directing The Lion In Winter at Two River Theatre, and is the Associate Director on Fiddler On The Roof (Broadway). Upcoming projects include Actually at The Geffen Playhouse, Comedy of Errors at Classic Stage Company and My Fair Lady at Playmakers Rep. Tyne is a 2016-18 Time Warner Directing Fellow at the Women's Project Theatre and received the 2014 SDC Sir John Gielgud Fellowship for Classic Direction.

By Emily Feldman, Directed by Will Davis Tuesday, January 10 at 7:00PM

Whether wearing sackcloth, toga, golden bangles, or a pantsuit, there seems to be no moment in history when it's easy to be a woman. Wiser than the powerful men who keep her in her place, Joan longs to use her mind and take charge. Her ambition will take her on a surprising journey, all while her lover watches longingly from the sidelines, wondering where he fits in her topsy-turvy world.

EMILY FELDMAN's (Playwright) plays include Three Women in Four Chairs, The Mango Farmer of Vermont, and Go. Please. Go. Her work has been developed or presented by the Playwrights' Center, Colt Coeur and Actors Theatre of Louisville. She's been an artist-in-residence at SPACE on Ryder Farm and The Atlantic Center for the Arts, a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers conference and a Core Apprentice at the Playwrights' Center. She is a finalist for the 2016 Kendeda Prize. She recently completed her M.F.A. in playwriting at the University of California, San Diego. B.A.: Middlebury College.

Will Davis (Director) is a director and choreographer focused on physically adventurous new work. Recent projects include Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus at Playwrights Horizons, Orange Julius by Basil Kreimendahl, Mike Iveson's Sorry Robot for PS122's COIL Festival and two productions of Colossal, by Andrew Hinderaker for Mixed Blood Theater and the Olney Theatre Center, for which he won a Helen Hayes award for outstanding direction. Will has developed, directed, and performed his work with New York Theatre Workshop, Clubbed Thumb, the New Museum, the Olney Theatre Center, the ALLIANCE THEATRE, the Playwright's Realm, the Ground Floor Residency at Berkeley Rep, and the Kennedy Center. He currently serves as the Artistic Director of American Theater Company in Chicago.

By Alex Lubischer, Directed by Kip Fagan Wednesday, January 11 at 7:00PM

In the small town of Milton, Nebraska, everyone has an opinion about what Bobbie Clearly did in the cornfield on that terrible day, but few want to face Bobbie himself. Some remain stuck in the past, others are desperate to move forward, and one might even find solace in the local talent show. In this darkly comic portrait of a community at a crossroads, Bobbie's return to Milton will lead to a discovery that time may not be able to heal all wounds.

Alex Lubischer (Playwright) is a playwright from Nebraska and a first-year candidate in the Playwriting Program at the Yale School of Drama. Prior to pursuing his MFA, Alex spent several years in Chicago, followed by a short time in New York as a member of the Page 73 Writers Group. His plays include PIG.GOV, Bobbie Clearly, Ogalala, Blood Special, The Xylophone West, Acts of Contrition, Weird Kids, and Survey No. 5. He has been a semifinalist for the P73 Playwriting Fellowship, a two-time finalist for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, and a resident playwright at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. In Chicago, his scripts have been produced by Steep Theatre Company, Haven Theatre, The Fine Print Theatre Company, Collaboraction, and Tympanic Theatre Company, among others. He has developed new work at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Victory Gardens Theater, The House Theatre, Route 66 Theatre Company, Interrobang Theatre Project, and the Great Plains Theatre Conference. Alex received his B.A. from the University of Southern California and is a proud alumnus of the National Theater Institute.

Kip Fagan (Director) most recently directed Roundabout Underground's Kingdom Come by Jenny Rachel Weiner and Ike Holter's Exit Strategy at Primary Stages. Other recent NYC credits: Heidi Schreck's Grand Concourse (Playwrights Horizons); Ariel Stess' I'm Pretty Fucked Up (Clubbed Thumb); Jesse Eisenberg's The Revisionist (Rattlestick); Carlos Murillo's A Thick Description of Harry Smith (Page 73); Reggie Watts and Tommy Smith's Radio Play (P.S. 122); Zayd Dohrn's Reborning (SPF); Sheila Callaghan's Recess and Christopher Durang's Not a Creature Was Stirring (The Flea); Greg Keller's The Young Left (Cherry Lane); Sam Marks's Nelson (Partial Comfort). Regional credits include: ALLIANCE THEATRE, Long Wharf Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Humana Festival, Sundance Theatre Lab, Philadelphia Theatre Company, among others. Upcoming: Zayd Dohrn's The Profane at Playwrights Horizons.

By Don Nguyen, Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel Thursday, January 12 at 7:00PM

It's the fall of 2002 at a Swiss boarding school, and a teenage Kim Jong-Un - a basketball-loving, note-pad sketching, Un - finds himself torn. He's suddenly enjoying an unlikely friendship with fellow student Sophie, who opens Un's eyes to the possibilities of a world beyond his restricted reality and his father's watchful gaze. Brimming with character and humor, The Supreme Leader imagines the teenage years of the enigmatic leader of North Korea and explores the importance of friendship and connection in a life that's been pre-destined.

DON NGUYEN (Playwright). Full length plays include: Red Flamboyant (World Premiere - Firebone Theatre Company 2015, 2015 GAP Prize Winner, Ojai Playwrights Conference, O'Neill finalist), Sound (Azeotrope/ACT, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Playwrights Realm Fellowship, Princess Grace Award finalist), The Commencement Of William Tan (Yale Cabaret), The Man From Saigon (developed at Naked Angels, NYSAF), The Supreme Leader (developed at Labyrinth Theatre, Ma-Yi) and Hello, From The Children Of Planet Earth (developed at Ma-Yi). Don's work has been developed or produced at The Public Theater, Labyrinth Theatre, The Flea, Ojai Playwrights Conference, New York Stage & Film, Naked Angels, Naked Radio, The Civilians, Ma-Yi Theatre, The Playwrights Realm, The Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Joe's Pub, The 52nd Street Project, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and Tofte Lake. Don is the recipient of the 2015 GAP Prize from the Aurora Theatre and New York Stage & Film Founder's award and has been a finalist for The O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, The Princess Grace Award, Woodward International Playwriting Prize, and New Dramatists. Nominations include: the Laurents/Hatcher award and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award. Don is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, The Public Theater's inaugural Emerging Writers Group, The Civilians inaugural R&D Group, the 52nd Street Project, and a co- founder of Mission to (dit) Mars, a Queens based theatre arts collective. For more information, visit

Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Director) Broadway: Noël Coward's Present Laughter with Kevin Kline (upcoming), Rob Askins' Hand to God (five Tony nominations, Lortel, SDC Callaway, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle nominations). West End: Hand to God (Olivier nomination). Off-Broadway: Nick Jones' Important Hats of the Twentieth Century (MTC), Nick Jones' Verité (LCT3), Nick Jones' Trevor (Lesser America), Rob Askins' Love Song of the Albanian Sous Chef (EST), Mike Lew's Bike America (Ma-Yi), Mel & El (Ars Nova), Michael Mitnick's Spacebar (Studio 42), and Adam Szymkowicz's My Base and Scurvy Heart (Studio 42). Regional: Alliance, Williamstown, Huntington, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, and more. Moritz is the former artistic director of Studio 42, NYC's producer of "unproducible" plays.

Music & Lyrics by Michael Thurber, Directed and developed with and additional material by Saheem Ali Friday, January 13 at 7:00PM

Most singles in New York would be thrilled to receive a booty call from a woman they're into, but when Gabe gets a message from Sam, he's thrown into a tailspin. As Gabe tries to lose himself in his music, his recordings soon turn into an outlet for all of his anxieties about love and intimacy. The Booty Call offers a musical window into the insecurities hiding within even the kind of guy who's supposed to have it easy.

Michael Thurber (Music & Lyrics). Whether playing bass on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," composing music for the Royal Shakespeare Company, or co-founding the smash YouTube channel CDZA, Composer/Bassist Michael Thurber has forged a completely individual path that defies genre and category. His latest projects include: The Booty Call, a one-man musical that he wrote and performed for a 4 week run at The Barrow Group Theater in 2016 as part of the Inner Voices series, Love Letters a new violin concerto for violinist Tessa Lark and this fall, Michael will write the music for The Public Theater's Mobile Shakespeare Unit production of Twelfth Night, as well as playing the role of "Antonio." Michael studied music at Juilliard.

Saheem Ali (Development and additional material, Director). Recent directing credits include Dot (Detroit Public Theater), The Booty Call (Inner Voices), Hair (Pace), A Lesson From Aloes (Juilliard), The Erlkings (Theater Row), Farhad (Inner Voices), Marisol (Barnard College), The Wild Party (Columbia University), Romeo & Juliet (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company). Associate Directing: The Tempest (Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park). Selected workshops and staged readings: Pornplay by Eric Micha Holmes (MCC), The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane by Jen Silverman (Tom Kirdahy Productions), Acquittal by Shadid Nadeem (Pan Asian Rep), The Children by Phillip Howze (BRIC), Black Maria on Koinange Street by Sitawa Namwalie (PEN World Voices), Facing Our Truths (Public Theater), Nollywood Dreams by Jocelyn Bioh (New York Stage and Film), Goddess (O'Neill Musical Theater Conference), Tsunami (PEN World Voices). Assistant Directing: A Free Man of Color (Lincoln Center), The Normal Heart (The Golden). Schubert Fellow, New York Theatre Workshop Emerging Artist of Color Fellow, SDCF Gielgud Directing Fellow. MFA Columbia University.

A limited number of FREE tickets to the reading series will be available to the general public. Tickets can be reserved by emailing There will be one reading each night at 7:00PM, Monday, January 9 - Friday, January 13 in the Black Box Theatre in the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre (111 West 46th Street).

The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre opened in March 2004 with an acclaimed premiere of Lynn Nottage's Intimate Apparel starring Viola Davis, directed by Dan Sullivan. In the ten years since that landmark production, the center has expanded beyond the Laura Pels Theatre to include the Black Box Theatre and now a new education center. The Steinberg Center continues to reflect Roundabout's commitment to produce new works by established and emerging writers as well as revivals of classic plays. This state-of-the-art off-Broadway theatre and education complex is made possible by a major gift from The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. The Trust was created in 1986 by Harold Steinberg to promote and advance American Theatre as a vital part of our culture by supporting playwrights, encouraging the development and production of new work, and providing financial assistance to not-for-profit theatre companies across the country. Since its inception, the Trust has awarded over $70 million to more than 125 theatre organizations.

Roundabout Underground's home is a 62-seat Black Box Theatre, which is also used year-round by Roundabout's education department for its activities including student productions and professional development workshops.

Roundabout Theatre Company is committed to producing the highest quality theatre with the finest artists, sharing stories that endure, and providing accessibility to all audiences. A not-for-profit company, Roundabout fulfills its mission each season through the production of classic plays and musicals; development and production of new works by established and emerging writers; educational initiatives that enrich the lives of children and adults; and a subscription model and audience outreach programs that cultivate and engage all audiences.

Roundabout Theatre Company presents a variety of plays, musicals, and new works on its five stages, each of which is specifically designed to enhance the needs of Roundabout's mission. Off-Broadway, the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which houses the Laura Pels Theatre and Black Box Theatre, with its simple sophisticated design, is perfectly suited to showcasing new works. The grandeur of its Broadway home on 42nd Street, American Airlines Theatre, sets the ideal stage for the classics. Roundabout's Studio 54 provides an exciting and intimate Broadway venue for its musical and special event productions. The Stephen Sondheim Theatre offers a state of the art LEED certified Broadway theatre in which to stage major large-scale musical revivals. Together these distinctive homes serve to enhance Roundabout's work on each of its stages.

Roundabout's 2016-2017 season includes Holiday Inn: The New Irving Berlin Musical by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge, directed by Gordon Greenberg with lyrics by Irving Berlin; and Love, Love, Love by Mike Bartlett, directed by Michael Mayer.

Roundabout's season in 2017 will include John Turturro, Tony Shalhoub, Jessica Hecht and Danny DeVito in Arthur Miller's The Price, directed by Terry Kinney; If I Forget by Steven Levenson, directed by Daniel Sullivan; Marvin's Room by Scott McPherson, directed by Anne Kauffman; Napoli, Brooklyn by Meghan Kennedy, directed by Gordon Edelstein.

The 2016-2017 Roundabout Underground season includes Kingdom Come, a new play by Jenny Rachel Weiner; and On the Exhale, a new play by Martín Zimmerman, directed by Leigh Silverman.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride


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